Nancy Davis Kho

Nancy Davis Kho
Oakland, California, USA
April 30
I'm a writer, a reader, a bike wife, a mom, and a music fan. And they don't call me Aunt Blabby for nothing. I figure if half of you are laughing WITH me and the other half AT me, we're all still laughing. I look forward to finding out which side you're on.

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JANUARY 29, 2013 11:17AM

Mountains of Makeup

Rate: 1 Flag


Makeup Chunks


Living in the liberal, eco-conscious Bay Area for 15 years, I’ve embraced the reduce-reuse-recycle philosophy. Every trip I make to the garage with a pile of garbage involves seven minutes and six trips back and forth between three bins – compost, recycling, landfill – as I mentally catalog whatever’s in the trash. And the pile of reusable stuff we’ve outgrown or no longer need, to be picked up by the Salvation Army or dropped off at East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, takes up an entire corner of the storage area even if we’ve just cleared it out 24 hours before.

Waste not, want not. It’s become a reflex to me. Which is why the rampant waste of perfectly good makeup in glossy fashion magazine spreads makes me insane.

If you’re a woman, you’ve seen this. On the pages devoted to “Smoky Eyes That Sizzle” or “Pouts to Die For!” it’s not enough to show the model and maybe a streak of the makeup color used to make her look so beautifully threatening. No. The shoot stylist takes three tablespoons of lipstick and molds it into a dollop, then upends the four ounce box of glitter powder next to it, and across the front smears enough teal green eyeshadow to spackle a mousehole. Nail polish spills across the page like a Rorschach test in “Tropical Sunset” red.

The effect is pretty, the impact of the color is powerful, and the whole treatment shouts “luxury” and “opulence.” But every time I see it, I think, do the cleaning ladies scoop that shit up and take it home? Because I would.

Seriously, when you take a brand new tube of Guerlain lipstick that retails for $48, twist it entirely out of the tube, and break it into three segments that are artfully jumbled together for as long as it takes to snap a few pictures, a serious re-use opportunity presents itself.

I’m picturing a smart young techy girl in Silicon Valley pairing up with her New York City fashion-crazy counterpart to come in like a crime scene cleanup crew to scoop up the Bobbi Brown eyeliner mountain and the Urban Decay glitter shadow trio explosion after the photography crew and model are gone. They can deposit the perfectly good albeit misshapen makeup into sterile jars and label them with product type, date, and provenance. Then they set up on online store and let people bid on the products, maybe with an illustration taken from the actual magazine photo shoot.

Think of it. People would probably bid extra for the Nars Orgasm blush worn by Kate Bush in a Harper’s Bazaar shoot, even if she technically never wore that specific splotch of makeup. Gisele Bundchen fans could keep the jar of her MAC lipstick shade from the September Vogue magazine in a small altar in their home, maybe with a candle and a Brazilian wax kit.

And hey, maybe the tech/fashion entrepreneurs could donate a portion of their profits to supply woman living in homeless shelters with the small toiletries that make the difference between mere survival and basic comfort.

Yeah. That might just make up for it. (Ouch. I know.)

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